Sunday, February 19, 2012

Michael Chabon's Summerland

Michael Chabon's Summerland is a really quirky book. I don't force myself to keep reading books that don't interest me, and several times I contemplated setting it aside. Yet its quirkiness brought me back. The plot centers on Ethan Feld, a boy who is drawn into a parallel magical world and has to play baseball (barnstorming with a motley group of kids and creatures, including a kindly female Sasquatch) in order to save everyone from destruction.

It is loaded with symbolism and mythology, with references ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Paul Bunyan to Norse cosmology (the world is held together by a massive tree). My complaint is that Chabon gets bogged down too often in the mythological references, so the plot periodically comes to a dead stop.

Nonetheless, the themes are eternal and endearing. The sounds and smells of baseball, the relationship between fathers and children (mothers for some reason don't appear much), good versus evil, and happy endings. With baseball upon us, it's not a bad choice.


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